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Prime Time: A Charlotte McNally Novel    by Hank Phillippi Ryan order for
Prime Time
by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Television reporter Charlotte McNally is at a crossroads in her life: she's on the downside of forty, she's divorced and childless, and hasn't gone on a memorable date in ages. She realises that her job as an award winning investigative reporter has always thrilled her more than living an ordinary life. But over the past few months with no big news stories forthcoming and with much younger blonde haired, toothsome, big-boobed rivals eying her desk - not to mention her boss pressuring her to find another prime time story - Charlie's feeling the heat. So much so that at first she ignores the odd emails she's been getting.

When the sender of said emails ends up dead and his wife offers up a box of what might be very incriminating evidence in a major whistleblower story, Charlie is thrilled. When more bodies begin turning up - as well as threats against Charlie and her partner advising them to keep their noses out of it - Charlie knows she's onto something. The fact that her investigation has her crossing paths with a sexy college professor who's just as interested in Charlie, seems almost too good to be true. But when the threats escalate and her big story takes an increasingly dangerous twist, Charlie realises that she herself could be the one who ends up as the next lead story.

With over twenty journalistic awards under her belt, Hank Phillippi Ryan deftly uses her investigative background to create a thoroughly original plot and a nicely complex character in Charlotte McNally. The fact that Charlie is struggling with the very real possibility of being booted because she's nearing fifty only adds to the fun. She vacillates between taking hilarious pot shots at the women trying to ingratiate themselves with their boss - and falling victim to her own insecurities about getting older and her belated realization that there's no permanent man in her life because she's married to her job.

Prime Time, a great debut to a new mystery series, takes an intriguing look into the cutthroat world of television journalism. Charlie McNally is a character you'll want to accompany again as she thumbs her nose at her much younger rivals and doesn't shy away from getting down and dirty to investigate the next mystery that comes her way.

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